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Chargers lineman Max Tuerk suspended four games for using performance-enhancing drugs

Max Tuerk starred for USC before being selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Chargers.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Offensive lineman Max Tuerk, a former USC standout who was a third-round pick of the Chargers in 2016, has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Tuerk, who was battling for a reserve spot and was focusing on guard and center, said in a team-issued statement that he made the mistake of taking over-the-counter supplements during the offseason.

“In doing so, I opened myself up to the possibility of consuming a tainted supplement, something that ultimately led to a positive test for a banned substance,” Tuerk said. “I accept responsibility for my actions and understand the NFL’s policy is very clear on this matter. This is a very hard way to learn a lesson, and I will never make this mistake again.”

Tuerk, who played at Santa Margarita High School in Orange County, will miss the Sept. 11 opener at Denver and home games against Miami (Sept. 17), Kansas City (Sept. 24) and Philadelphia (Oct. 1). He will be eligible to return for the Oct. 8 game against the Giants at New York.

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Tuerk suffered a knee injury in the fifth game of his senior season at USC and was inactive for all 16 Chargers games last season. Because he is on the suspended list, he will not count as one of the 53 players on the team’s 53-man opening-day roster. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games.

“We respect and support the league’s decision on this matter,” the Chargers said in a statement. “While disappointed, we appreciate that Max has accepted responsibility and are confident that he understands what is expected from him moving forward.”

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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@MikeDiGiovanna


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